Neil Young – Wet Show (Tarantura TCDNY-1-1,2)


Wet Show (Tarantura TCDNY-1-1,2)

Aichiken Taiikukan, Nagoya, Japan – March 3th, 1976

Disc 1: Opening, Tell Me Why, Mellow My Mind, After The Goldrush, Too Far Gone, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, A Man Needs A Maid, No One Seems To Know, Heart Of Gold

Disc 2:  intermission, Country Home, band introduction, Don’t Cry No Tears, Down By The River, Lotta Love, Like A Hurricane, The Losing End, Drive Back, Southern Man, Cinnamon Girl, ending mc, Cortez The Killer

Neil Young’s extensive tour with Crazy Horse in 1976 comes after the release of On The Beach in 1974 and two albums, Tonight’s The Night and Zuma, the following year.  These two together represented an interest by Young in resurrecting his collaboration with Crazy Horse.  The former was actually recorded several years before and the latter, releases six months afterwards in December 10th 1975 represents, in the view of many, the pinnacle of Young’s recorded output with the band.  The first live appearances with the new Crazy Horse with Frank (Poncho) Sampedro replacing the deceased Dan Whitten consist of four shows in ten days in little clubs and bars in northern California, dubbed the “Rolling Zuma Revue.”  An extensive world tour was booked, called “The Year Of The Horse,” beginning on March 3rd, 1976 in Nagoya. 

This was Young’s first visit to Japan and he played seven shows in Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Tokyo.  All of the shows have been taped and many pressed.  The most recent releases include Another Osaka (Screamer), which contains half of the March 4th show, and GFK (Watch Tower) containing the Fukuoka tape.  Wet Show, one of two recent Neil Young releases on the Tarantura label, contains a brand new complete audience recording.  An older excellent audience recording exists and was released several years ago on You Are Just A Dream (F*!#in’ Up FUPCD-2001/2002), but is missing the second encore “Cortez The Killer.”  Wet Show legitimately has the second encore and for the first time this show is complete.

The sound quality is simply stunning.  It is a three dimensional stereo audience recording taped right in front of the stage.  The balance between the instruments and audience is perfect, and is detailed enough to pick up Young’s off-mic comments.  The first disc is devoted to the thirty minute acoustic set.  It is fascinating to hear Young bounce around from acoustic guitar, banjo, and piano as he plays the hits.  After the opener “Tell Me Why” Young clicks his harp in the holder and says “It’s nice to be here in Japan.  I’m very happy to be here in this country to play music for you.  I won’t talk much since you can’t understand me” as he tunes the banjo for “Mellow My Mind.”  “After The Goldrush,” with Young at the piano, follows.  He follows with “Too Far Gone.”  This is the first time it was performed in public and would be played in all but two shows on the world tour and wouldn’t receive its official release until 1989 on Freedom.  He seems self conscious afterwards about the words. 

But he introduces the next song as ‘Work Can Break Your Body, But Only Love Can Break Your Heart.”  He returns to the piano for “A Man Needs A Maid” which he introduces as, “This song is called…Yamaha!” pointing to the piano.  The Yamaha reference will be a running joke through the second half of the show too.  Before the final song of the first half Young says, “I’ll play a little tune here, and then I’m gonna go away for a while.  And then I’m gonna come back and I’ll bring my friends Crazy Horse with me.”  After banging the harmonica to empty it of spit he says, “It’s a wet show ladies and gentlemen.  I’m very happy to see McDonald’s hamburgers here I think that’s wonderful.  This is called ‘Burger Of Gold.'”

It is typical for Young to be chatty during the acoustic set.  Some of his comments betray a vulnerability that is its charm.  In the electric set he and Crazy Horse approach with a gravity that is focused solely upon the music.  “Country Home,” unreleased at this point and would not be issued officially until 1990’s Ragged Glory, opens the second set.  This song would open the electric set for every Neil Young and Crazy Horse show in 1976 except one (November 14 in Madison, Wisconsin where “Cowgirl In The Sand” was played and can be heard on Madison Hurricane on Seymour).  Only three songs, “Don’t Cry No Tears,” “Drive Back,” and “Cortez The Killer” are played from the new album.  “Down By The River” is featured and this version lasts nine minutes, far from the fifteen-minute extravaganza from the early Crazy Horse tours.  “Like A Hurricane,” which wouldn’t be released until the following year’s American Stars N Bars, is introduced as a “new song.” 

Afterwards Young gives a long intro for the next song, “‘The Losing End.’  Let me tell you a story about something that happened to me on my way into town today.  I was walking down the street and some guy came up to me…oh I forgot.  I’ll sing about it.  It’s very good to be here, we’re having a good time.”  The set closer is “Southern Man” followed by “Cinnamon Girl” and, after a minute of clapping and two small cuts in the tape, an excellent version of “Cortez The Killer.”  Nagoya is a good show for a tour opener and Tarantura use one of the best sounding audience recordings available for Neil Young.  Wet Show is limited to one hundred unnumbered copies and is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve.  This title proved so popular that is sold out and Tarantura issued a second edition.  The cover art is different to differentiate the two, with the second edition having the white boarder and the “Original Mister Peach Recording” on the top.  This edition is also limited to one hundred unnumbered copies.

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